Friday, April 17, 2015

The benefits of living with MS?

An MS Facebook friend posted a comment a few weeks ago and it really got me thinking. She said this...

"God says that everything happens for our good, and His glory. Have you discovered anything "good" that has come from a diagnosis of MS?

I've had a while to think about that I've spent the last few months getting ready for a big baptism and party for my precious granddaughter Grace. I realized that my answer to that question is an easy one. MS changed has changed my life pretty dramatically from what it was back in January of 1998 when I was officially diagnosed. I was a driven self absorbed workaholic and supermom or so I thought. I thought I had everything in my life under control. My health, my family, my kids and husband, my career, and everything about my life. Everything was going according to how I thought my life ---everything and everyone in my orbit should go, until my health crisis in December of 1997. That is when everything, and I mean everything turned upside down. You realize pretty quickly that you really aren't in control of anything at all. Far from it. 

When a doctor looks at you and says he hasn't got good news and asks you to verify that the name on those MRI films are indeed yours, everything in your world changes immediately. After a month of every harrowing medical test known to man, including a brain biopsy, many doctors visits, many faithful prayers by our family and friends all over the world, we finally had a diagnosis. It wasn't brain cancer like they originally thought, it was this disease I had never heard of and I knew nothing about called Multiple Sclerosis.

I had no idea how much my life was going to change over the years because of those two little letters, MS. But change it did, and now that I've officially lived with this disease for over 17 years (I had symptoms for years and didn't know what they were so it's probably more like 25 years or more), I've got a totally different perspective on life.

When you have to slow down and face your mortality, you quickly realize, at least I did, that all the "stuff" you thought was so important, didn't amount to a "hill of beans," - a phrase my sweet Dad used to use all the time when he was still with us.  

Worrying about how your house looked, your yard looked, and having everything in it's proper place didn't really matter at all. Keeping up with the Jones' was never really my thing, and I realized pretty quickly who my real friends were when I became sick. 

So, can I say, I'm glad I got MS?Well, of course not, that would be a pretty strange thing to say. But, I have learned a lot from living with a chronic debilitating progressive disease. One that is relentless in it's pursuit of your body. 

So yes, I would say that something good has come from my diagnosis all those years ago. I've learned to wake up each day and thank God for another change to get it right. Life is precious, in any form. Every breath we draw is a gift from our Creator. I've learned to not take things or myself so seriously, after all, this life is just a journey to the next......filled with trials, confusion, anguish and hurdle after hurdle. It is truly a mine field for all of us, and you have to take everything that happens with a grain of salt and thank God that he allows you the opportunity to live through the trials. I mean, after all, what is the alternative? 

I've learned to be thankful in all things, and I mean all things, just like 2 Thessalonians 5:18 commands us to do "In everything, give thanks, for this is God's will for you." 

I've learned to really cherish those closest to me and accept the fact that there will be people who don't or can't accept me for what I am. That is a hard thing. I've always wanted everyone to like me and was always pretty popular when I was working or in school.

But as I've traveled through life, I've realized that you can't please everybody. It's just a fact that there are going to be some people, maybe even some of those closest to you who don't approve of your life, your opinions, or your faith, or the way you live out your faith. Quit beating yourself up. You can't please everybody all the time. You must be true to yourself and true to your God. In the end, He is the only one whose approval you really need because you will stand in judgement in front of Him and nobody else. 

Each day, I pray that through my Christian witness I can bring God glory in some of the everyday things I do. I look to Him for my strength, my encouragement, and my fortitude. 

Of course, there are many things about MS that I would much rather not have, like not being able to drive anymore. But it could be worse, I am thankful that it isn't. There are many things that take me ten times longer to do, but that's ok, God gives me the patience to get through those.  

Like writing in my blog. I haven't written for 4 months because of time and focus getting ready for our precious granddaughter's baptism on Easter Sunday. That is something I could have handled with ease in the old days, but now a days it took me longer, but it was worth every moment I spent. God gave me the strength to handle the planning and follow through with everything to help make that day perfect, which it was. Another thing is Praise Him for!!!

                                        The Watts Family at the baptism of our precious granddaughter:
                                        from left, Grace, Jessi, Steve, Nicki, Jordy and Eric 

Would I trade my life for some able body person's life? I have to say no, ......yes, I seriously said no. Of course there are days when I want to scream at God for allowing me to be stricken with this disease, but I'm blessed with a glass is half full personality and am happy that the Lord can use me through this illness to bring some levity to some others who are suffering. That's what it's all about, isn't it? Helping others just like Jesus did when he was on this earth? 

I pray that He will continue to bless me with the will to shine for him wherever I go and look to the good, not the bad. I am blessed and I know it!!! Thank you Lord!!

My verse for today is above in red

My prayer for today:

Heavenly Father:

Thank you for being by my side everyday since my MS diagnosis on January 8th, 1998. I couldn't have made it this far without you Lord. Continue to use me for your glory through my sickness. Help me to reach out to others who are suffering and lighten their load. Give me the fortitude to do your work for your kingdom, in Jesus name, Amen

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